Many innovative products were born out of the needs of growing
aquatic plants, and the knowledge about how to meet those needs.
Aquatic plants, especially stem plants, come in a myriad of colors,
from bright greens to deep reds. Although various aquascapes
can be created by combining colorful stem plants, sufficiently
bright light, CO2 injection, proper substrate, and liquid fertilizers
are necessary for growing healthy stem plants and bringing out
their color and vitality to the fullest extent. Since cultivation
methods are fairly well established nowadays, anyone can enjoy a
multitude of hues in their aquatic plant layouts.
Creative Plant Rearrangement to Highlight the
Colors of Stem Plants
Sozo haishoku is the term for creatively rearranging aquatic
plants while keeping the composition the same in order to enjoy
an aquascape over a long period of time. This layout is an example
of sozo haishoku using colorful stem plants.
This 180-cm (6-foot) aquarium that Mr. Amano produced
was photographed for the first time in November 2015. The
original planting was composed of colorful stem plants in green,
red, crimson, chartreuse, and orange in the background. The
aquascape exemplified the colorful beauty of nature.
The layout was maintained over a long period of time after taking
the initial photographs. It went through a sozo haishoku, and some
plants were replaced by considering the density of leaves and ease
of maintenance, such as trimming. Stem plants colored similarly to
the original plantings were selected as replacements, to prevent the
impression of the aquascape from changing too drastically.
Replacing fast-growing Glossostigma with slow-growing cobra
grass made it easier to maintain the aquascape over the long term.
Trimming the stem plants in the background repeatedly increased
the density of the leaves and made the aquascape look more filled out
and impressive. A sufficiently bright light fixture is indispensable for
growing healthy, brilliantly colored aquatic plants. In this aquarium,
the original four metal halide light fixtures were replaced with three
new LED fixtures, and as a result the stem-plant bushes increased
Their colors also intensified when iron and nitrogen supplements
were combined with a basic potassium-based fertilizer. Although iron
supplements are known to be effective for improving the color of red
stem plants, in actuality nitrogen supplementation is also necessary
for this task. The addition of a nitrogen supplement is also effective,
since nitrogen supplied by the substrate decreases in an aquarium
like this one that has been maintained over a long period.
38 www.tfhmagazine.com Jul/Aug 2017
The original layout, photographed on November 12, 2015. This aquascape is an exemplary piece of Nature Aquarium planting in which stem plants
in various colors were effectively arranged in the background.
Glossostigma, which was used in the foreground earlier, is suitable
for the initial setup period since it grows fast and covers the substrate
in a short period of time. However, it requires frequent trimming.
Since Glossostigma was replaced in the sozo haishoku process by cobra
grass, which grows relatively slowly, frequent trimming is not necessary. It is
an undergrowth plant that is easy to care for and therefore quite suitable
for an aquascape that is intended to be maintained long-term.